Warhammer Online: Exclusive Interview #10

Warhammer Online Community Coordinator brought together some answers to our latest set of questions to the EA Mythic developer team. This time we learn about public quests, changes to their community team and some more insights out of the recent development letter update.

WarCry Q&A: Warhammer Online
Answers by James Nichols (Community Coordinator) & the WAR Dev Team
Questions by Dana Massey


WarCry: Public quests have always been one of the most unique aspects of the game. How have they panned out in the Beta?

James Nichols: People LOVE them. In addition to being a great way to earn XP and loot, and getting to run through cool narrative content, they’ve wound up acting as an organic “looking for group” system in the world. Folks run out into a PQ, join in with whoever’s already there, and in a matter of moments you can see if there is someone around you’d like to group with. They’re like a singles bar for war parties.

In response to the positive feedback we received about PQs, we’re continuing to polish, improve and expand their presence in the world.

WarCry: In the last few months, the community management team itself has undergone a number of personnel changes. What will people notice about the way you deal with the community today vs. how it had been historically?

James Nichols: While change can be difficult, we feel it opens new doors and great opportunities, too. The community team is always here for the players, to keep them informed and to listen and respond to their concerns. They act as the eyes and ears of both the community and the dev team, and work tirelessly to keep both parties informed of what the other is thinking and doing. While the faces might be new, our approach to working with the best MMO communities around is not.

WarCry: In the update letter, Jacobs also mentions changes to improve both RvR and “a great play experience for those that do not choose to engage in RvR 24×7”. How do you hope to capture the minds of the PvE crowd without deviating from the primary focus of the game?

James Nichols: The intention from the very beginning of the project was to present a fully-realized PvE experience in addition to the RvR campaign. In that regard, PvE IS one of the primary focuses of the game. As to how we’ve engaged that challenge, we’ve made a concerted effort to treat the PvE experience as a true hero’s narrative. The game literally plays as one, huge story set against the backdrop of the greater Realm war. PvE content is broken up into chapters and the events that take place throughout those chapters tell the player’s ongoing story. Problems arise – some are resolved quickly, others seem to be settled, but then crop back up later in another form – and all throughout you’re experiencing a narrative that immerses you in the lore of Warhammer and in your own character’s development.

On a more systematic level, we’ve made sure that a lot of the innovations we’ve brought to the genre with WAR are focused squarely at the PvE experience. Public Quests and the Tome of Knowledge, for example, provide a treasure trove of rewards for players who don’t just relentlessly burn through story content in service of leveling as fast as possible.


WarCry: Tantalizingly, Mark also mentions “open field RvR” at the end of his letter. Care to elaborate?

James Nichols: Open Field RvR is defined simply as fighting other players in non-instanced zones over specific locations and objectives. Conceptually, this is broken up into 3 actions:

  1. Players will be able to fight each other with no rhyme or reason other than killing the enemy. Pure bedlam and chaos!
  2. Players will be able to take and hold specific key areas we call Battlefield Objectives and impact overall Zone Control. Focused bedlam and chaos!
  3. Players will be able to … oh, wait, we’ll have some breaking news soon to share that will detail our plans for what is essentially focused bedlam and chaos on a GRAND scale.

WarCry: What are you doing to take the client from where it is today to a smooth launch on a wide range of realistic machines?

James Nichols: We have a dedicated team of senior engineers that are focused entirely on issues of performance (both memory usage and FPS). We have a range of PCs that we use to benchmark our lowest specification (e.g. min spec), moderate spec and high-end spec, identifying features that need to be optimized or disabled to improve performance. As always, performance is a continual watchdog process.

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